Seq # 450060010

Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758) Species

Last modified: Nov. 8, 2023, 3:56 p.m.

A common species throughout Belgium.


Family: Pieridae > Subfamily: Pierinae > Tribus: Pierini > Genus: Pieris > Species: Pieris brassicae
Vernacular names
Groot koolwitje (NL), Large White (EN), Piéride du chou (FR), Großer Kohlweißling (DE)
First mention in Belgium
De Sélys-Longchamps E. 1837. Catalogue des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de la Belgique, précédé du tableau des Libellulines de ce pays. — — : 1–29. On page 15 (as Pieris brassicae). view page




Imagos resemble other Pieris species but have the apical black spot larger, extending in a pointed way along the costal margin as well as down the outer margin. Males lack the discal spot. The black on the upperside is greyer in the spring brood.

Museum specimens

Specimens in nature


Eggs are laid in batches, often around 40 but sometimes up to 100 per batch. One female can lay several hundreds of eggs, in some cases females laying more than 1400 eggs have been observed. The eggs are bright yellow, elliptical and have 17 to 19 longitudinal keels.

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An overview of the bionomics of this species can be found on the Butterflies in the Benelux website.

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Flight periods

The adults fly in up to three generations a year, overlapping from April till October.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Tropaeolum majus and Reseda lutea
Host plant (genera):

The larva lives on several species of Brassicaceae. In spring generation often several kinds of herbs like garlic mustard while in summer generations it often uses cultivated cabbage varieties. Therefore this species is well known and studied as an agricultural pest.

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Large whites can be found in all kind of habitats, it is also a well known migrant and in some years the numbers can be very high.

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